Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




R. E. Blumstock




The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the development of millennial movements in various different areas and different time periods. An attempt has been made to account for the social conditions under which millennial movements arise, and also to explain why the ritual and doctrinal contents of the movements are as they are. In recent years the comparative analysis of millennial movements has flourished, and there is now a relatively large literature on the subject. However, with one or two notable exceptions, these analyses have concentrated in the main on either the similarities in common between apparently diverse movements, or else on the formulation of ideal types and dimensions into and along which all movements can be categorized . There have been very few attempts to create sociological models that either explain under what conditions millennial movements develop, or that illustrate why individual movements develop the specific rituals and beliefs they do.

Because of its historically and geographically comparative approach, this thesis, of necessity, consists of a secondary analysis of selected millennial movements. Nevertheless it is hoped that the model developed for these selected movements will be of use in explaining and understanding other movements.

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